Opinion

Trading Through Coronavirus 9. Ian Mean and Phil Smith of Business West reflect on three weeks in lockdown

Written by: Business West | Posted 22 April 2020 10:37

Trading Through Coronavirus 9. Ian Mean and Phil Smith of Business West reflect on three weeks in lockdown

If it were not all so serious Business West might be forgiven for puffing out its chest a little at the impact of its pro-active approach to helping firms through the pandemic. 

According to the not-for-profit company which offers business support to start-up and growing businesses in the West of England, during the first three weeks of the pandemic more than 40,000 firms accessed its Trading Through Coronavirus service 

It’s been releasing a series of videos we at The Raikes Journal think prove both informative, food for thought and also manage to sing its own praises without sounding like an exercise in self publicity. No easy feat. 

As a result we thought we would run one of them here – plus its press release on its response so far to coronavirus (see below). 

Launched on 16 March, Trading Through Coronavirus is Business West’s cross organisational response to the coronavirus pandemic, providing expert information and guidance to businesses in addition to capturing detailed intelligence to guide the economic response to the crisis at a local and national level. 

At the centre of Trading Through Coronavirus is an online portal that features answers to frequently asked questions, up to the minute expert legal and financial advice, the facility to submit questions direct to Business West advisors and even a regular video and podcast series. 

In recent days, Business West has launched a survey running in tandem with the Trading Through Coronavirus hub in order to establish an evidence base reflecting the true impact of the coronavirus pandemic on businesses and the economy in the region. With more than 500 responses received so far, the results of the survey will be fed back to national government via British Chambers of Commerce who are in regular contact with the Chancellor. 

Speaking about Business West’s rapid response to the coronavirus pandemic Managing Director Phil Smith said: 

“The unprecedented challenges businesses face has generated an unparalleled demand for trusted advice, information and guidance, and as a result businesses have been coming to us in their droves. 

“As the crisis unfolded, we at Business West moved quickly to fill the information void and launched our Trading Through Coronavirus service. In just over three weeks over 40,000 businesses have engaged with us in one way or another, through visiting our website, registering for updates or taking part in our survey. 

“With each of the local authorities in our region signposting businesses to us, we have become the go-to resource for business in South West England at what is an incredibly difficult time for the regional and national economy.  

“Our route into Westminster, the mobilisation of our members to provide pro-bono legal and financial advice and our ability to quickly answer the questions that business throws at us has enabled us to cultivate this unique position, not only as the region’s largest business organisation, but as business’ most trusted when it comes to navigating their companies through the coronavirus pandemic.” 

To access Business West's hub providing guidance and support on coronavirus (COVID-19) for businesses, employers and employees in the South West of England and beyond visit: www.tradingthroughcoronavirus.co.uk